How to Help a Chronic Relapser

How to Help a Chronic Relapser

What is a Relapse?

Relapse is resuming the use of a drug or a chemical substance after one or more periods of abstinence; a recurrence of symptoms of a disease (addiction) after a period of improvement; to slip or fall back into a former worse state (active addiction).

What is a Chronic Relapser?

Many addicts have a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse but have never actually attempted to get sober. What makes chronic relapsers distinct is that they have tried and failed at maintaining sobriety many times over.

Profile of the Chronic Relapser

  • Numerous failed attempts at sobriety, or a return to drugs/alcohol after a substantial period of sobriety
  • Unable to maintain sobriety despite having a wealth of knowledge about addiction and recovery
  • Continued substance use despite significant, severe and repeated consequences
  • Chronic relapsers often feel hopeless that they will ever find lasting sobriety
  • Multiple treatment episodes, including psychiatric treatment, detox, residential, outpatient, and halfway houses
  • Significant exposure, attendance and/or participation in 12-Step programs. Chronic relapsers have a history of repeatedly working Steps 1, 2 and 3, but have never completed all 12
  • Treatment-savvy have learned to navigate their way through the treatment industry to meet their own agenda
  • A unique talent to exhaust the financial resources and emotional support of loved ones. Chronic relapsers leave their loved ones depleted of energy and emotional resources
  • As with most addicts, a pervasive cluster of personality characteristics are frequently exaggerated in the chronic relapser; they are very charming, intelligent, manipulative, convincing, deceitful, lovable, talented and passionate; chronic relapsers have mastered the art of survival, in and out of treatment.

How to Help a Chronic Relapser

Below are ways to get involve, support, and encourage successful recovery for a chronic relapser.

Encourage a long-term length of stay. It is a well-established fact that long-term treatment increases the chances of lasting sobriety. It is important to define the term “long-term treatment” as in a length of stay in excess of nine months. It can take a chronic relapser three to six months to wake up out of the fog in which they have been living. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is very significant in chronic relapsers and frequently interferes considerably with their ability to comprehend recovery principles in early sobriety.

Remove outside distractions. Chronic relapsers are masters at distracting themselves and others from seeing the truth about them. It is essential to remove all things they use to change the way they feel and to force them to sit in their own skin.  It is well within the boundaries the treatment center to limit distractions through therapeutic contracts, clear-cut facility rules and guidelines, and limited family contact. As a loved one or family member of a chronic relapser, be aware that you may be asked not to visit early on or often throughout treatment.

Emphasize the mental and spiritual nature of the disease. It is essential that chronic relapsers understand they have a disease of the mind body and spirit, and that the solution through the 12 Steps is spiritual in nature.

Be active in getting your own treatment. In most cases, the family has participated in the progression of the illness in the chronic relapser through intense enabling behaviors. Therapy for the family cannot just be a suggestion; it must be non-negotiable. Get involved with Al-Anon or Nar-Anon and consider counseling for yourself and other family members.

Put an end to enabling. Family leverage is usually the most significant in keeping a chronic relapser in long-term treatment. Chronic relapsers must recognize in no uncertain terms that they will not receive any emotional or financial support from their family if they do not complete long-term treatment or remain sober.

Stay one step ahead. It has been established that chronic relapsers are treatment-savvy, tricky and highly manipulative. When you, as the family, do get to speak and/or visit the chronic relapser, don’t take what they say at face value. Don’t give them an inch.

Emphasize that they work all 12 Steps with a sponsor. It is important that working the 12 Steps is not just a suggestion, but a requirement. These individuals must be held accountable to obtain a sponsor and work all 12 Steps while they are still in treatment.

Be relentless with accountability. Treatment for the chronic relapser should include a constant emphasis on accountability, responsibility and consistency. It is essential that there be rules, limits, boundaries and consequences with chronic relapsers. Family and friends can support but knowing what is expected of their loved one and reinforcing these policies and practices in their encounters with the chronic relapser.

Sources:

http://www.addictionpro.com/

http://www.merriam-webster.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org

 

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs

Once you know the ways to tell if someone is addicted to drugs it can be fairly easy to spot. Before knowing the signs of addiction it can be almost impossible to notice as well as understand what is going on with someone who has a drug problem. If you think there may even be a slight chance that someone you know is addicted to drugs then read on. In fact, if you think there is a chance you, yourself, might be addicted to drugs, then also, read on. This blog will explain how to know if someone is addicted to drugs.

 

  • They are neglecting their responsibilities at school, work, or home (e.g. flunking classes, skipping work, neglecting their children) because of their drug use.
  • They are using drugs under dangerous conditions or taking risks while high, such as driving while on drugs, using dirty needles, or having unprotected sex.
  • Their drug use is getting them into legal trouble, such as arrests for disorderly conduct, driving under the influence, or stealing to support a drug habit. 
  • Their drug use is causing problems in their relationships, such as fights with their partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of old friends.

How to Know if someone is Addicted to Drugs for the drug user

  • You’ve built up a drug tolerance. You need to use more of the drug to experience the same affects you used to attain with smaller amounts.
  • You take drugs to avoid or relieve withdrawal symptoms. If you go too long without drugs, you experience symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking, and anxiety.
  • You’ve lost control over your drug use. You often do drugs or use more than you planned, even though you told yourself you wouldn’t. You may want to stop using, but you feel powerless.
  • Your life revolves around drug use. You spend a lot of time using and thinking about drugs, figuring out how to get them, and recovering from the drug’s effects.
  • You’ve abandoned activities you used to enjoy, such as hobbies, sports, and socializing, because of your drug use.
  • You continue to use drugs, despite knowing it’s hurting you. It’s causing major problems in your life—blackouts, infections, mood swings, depression, paranoia—but you use anyway

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs: Physical warning signs of drug addiction

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs: Behavioral signs of drug addiction

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)

How to know if someone is addicted to drugs: Psychological warning signs of drug addiction

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason

If you think you know someone is addicted to drugs the next step would be to try and help them or if it is you addicted to drugs, help yourself. There are many resources available today for people who are addicted to drugs including interventions, detox programs, inpatient treatment programs, outpatient programs and so much more. Someone who is addicted to drugs is going to need help. If they are unwilling to get help you cannot force them into getting better, remember that. What you can do, is let them know there is a way out if they want it.

I want to go back to school. Where should I start?

I want to go back to school

I want to go back to school

I want to go back to school. Where should I start?

Going back to school can be a daunting and sometimes scary process but you know it’s worthwhile that’s why you are doing it! So if you want to go back to school and wondering, “Where should I start?”,  then this is the article for you!

Do a personal assessment if you want to go back to school.

Define your educational goals for yourself. Before you can even determine what your career path is going to be and then select the right school, you need to make a self assessment of your interest and goals. You also need to define your educational goals. For example, ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to go back to school?
  • Is my goal to change careers, grow professionally, finish a degree that I started years ago?

If you focus on what is motivating you to go back to school you have figured out where you should start and you can definitely define your educational goals.

Take an inventory if you want to go back to school.

Take an inventory of yourself if you want to go back to school. Taking an inventory is asking yourself questions such as, am I going to college for the first time or re-entering after an absence? If you have any prior college credits you need to figure out how many you have and that also includes the non-credit courses and any life or work experience you may have. Even if you think the subjects may not work towards your major they could count as elective credits towards your degree.If you really want to go back to school these are great places to get started.

There are also multiple assessment tools out there on the internet to help you find what educational and training requirements there are in accordance to the occupation. Also look at the information on current career and industry trends.

If you still don’t know what you want your major to be or what your career path is don’t fret. You can still go back to school and actually tons of students go back to school before they have really decided. You are allowed to be undecided when you go back to school and there are special advisors at each school to help you select the course work that will fit into multiple degree programs.

Some of the next steps after you have done the inventory and assessment are to:

Find a school you are interested in. Check the accreditation of the school. See what kind of financial aid is available. Make sure to ask if the school accepts transfer credits. Find out if professors are available after class hours. Check campus office hours and academic advising schedules. See if the college offers community and support for those going back to school. Look into childcare services if you need them.

If it’s the right school for you and you are totally ready to get started then complete any testing and admissions processes including financial aid applications. Then make an academic plan for yourself with the school you have chosen.

If you want to go back to school and want to know where to get started then just take it one step at a time. Figuring out what you want is the most important part then after that anything is possible.